It’s a while since I covered the Digital Economy Act, its ramifications and repercussions but last week saw the court hearings take place for the BT/TalkTalk Judicial Review. I was somewhat mistaken in the belief that we might also hear the output of the JR last week but this is not so. The judge needs to go away and deliberate in the way learned people deliberate (this is either hand on chin looking thoughtfully into the distance or chin on chest looking down at interlocked fingers).
The media is already saying that the DEAct implementation is going to be subject to long delays – it already is – we have been waiting for the publication of the Code of Practice for months now. What has been going on in the meantime is further lobbying by Rights Holders to try and get ISPs to block access to websites that promote or support copyright infringement.
Initially this was seen as strange because the DEAct already provides for this to be looked at in the event that the three strikes mechanisms isn’t seen to be working. Cake and eat it springs to mind.
With hindsight it looks as if this was an insurance policy on the part of the RHs in case the DEAct was thrown out in court or subject to delays.
Ed Vaizey has already met with ISPs and RHs in round table meetings to digital content and piracy, the second time being on 23 February 2011. No agreements were made and I believe this is a very long way off. A further meeting is being held next week.
Blocking is likely to be expensive, ineffective, have unintended consequences (eg innocent websites being blocked), seen as censorship, stifle the open growth of the internet ecology and require huge involvement of the judiciary – I certainly would not be happy with ISPs or Rights Holders taking ownership of choosing which sites to block.
Come on guys. Lets try and see a bit of sense here.